The artist’s impression of the proposed extension of The Bridges (Echo, October 16) looks nothing like the John Lewis, or a retailer of a similar ilk, that Sunderland desperately needs in order for the city centre to make genuine progress in its quest to capture the imagination of a lost generation of shoppers from its immediate environs as well as those who used to frequent Sunderland regularly from County Durham and South Tyneside.
Currently there are a lot of people doing an enthusiastic and well meaning job in trying to make the city of Sunderland a far more desirable leisure and shopping destination, but they will never totally succeed until there are some top class ‘anchor’ retailers like John Lewis and Apple, as only two high profile examples, attracted to the heart of Wearside.
Furthermore existing major national retailers such as Marks and Spencer, BHS, Next etc need to up their game and provide the same wide product range at their Sunderland stores as they do at their Newcastle and MetroCentre counterparts.
You often hear tales of people visiting these shops in Sunderland and being told “oh we don’t stock that here, but if you go to our Tyneside store you’ll get it there...” – this is just terrible public relations for our city centre.
Sunderland is a proud place with a tremendous heritage and history and with great people who deserve the best.
That unambitious, dreary looking artist’s impression of The Bridges extension as recently highlighted by this newspaper is not good enough and would represent yet another in a long list of wasted opportunities to get things right in our slowly improving city centre.